Tuesday, March 3, 2015

When Monday meant Nelly

Boosted by a breakfast of vitamins and hopia and a late lunch of Hizon's ensaymada and hot chocolate at its main branch in Ermita, Manila, I managed to make it to EDSA Shangri-La Mandaluyong City to welcome Nelly Miricioiu.

Al Andres and Joseph Uy of Culture Arts Events Organizers, the guys behind the production "Nelly Miricioiu: Live in Manila", assigned me the role of flower girl (never been one in all of my childhood). I gladly accepted with aplomb!

I am counting the hours until I hear her voice live. I don't know if I'll ever be content again with YouTube videos or music CDs after the March 6 experience at Meralco Theater.

The virtue of being punctual is rewarded. Otherwise, Pablo Tariman would've done the honors of offering this lovely bouquet from Market! Market! to another of his soul mates, the diva Nelly. When Al clicked my camera, he said, "O, di parang nasa Panagbenga ka rin? Mas maganda pa!" I wanted to hum Ravel's "Bolero" into his ear.

Not wanting to be upstaged, Pablo rushed home earlier to shower and change costume. The extra trip home paid off. He pulled off the fresh-from-my-Caribbean-secret-hideaway look.

The hug and reunion. Ms. Nelly's cry of "Oh Pablo, oh my God!" sounded like a line from Bellini

That's Nelly's husband of over 20 years, engineer Barry Kirk, behind her while she kisses Pablo.

Flower girl's voice goes high pitched in excitement as she requests one of opera's greats to turn to the camera, please.

Ms. Nelly hugs the Teddy Bear of the music world, Joseph Uy.

In her mother country Romania, Nelly was given an honor that is equivalent to the royal title of "Dame." And a gracious dame she is. After the initial hugs and kisses, she invited everyone for a drink and said it was on her. Of course, Joseph and everyone else refused the offer. She was, after all, in the country that had enfolded her as one of its own when she left Romania during its troubled times.

Vital, animated, expressive--that's how Dame Nelly is in person.

She accepts the gifts from the flower girl: food for the body and soul--taisan cake from Hizon's and a copy of the first Philippine PEN Journal which has "healing" for its theme. My essay "The Strength of Roots or the Need for Flight?" is included in it. When she saw the word "healing" on the blue cover, she said, "I believe in these things." She told us of a hard time in her life, how she wandered into a bookstore, discovered a book on the Tantric form of healing, how it changed her and deepened her spirituality.
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